Justice conference closes out budget, bumps privatization

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After a last-minute attempt to find more money for the guardian ad litem program, the House-Senate conference committee tasked with working out a compromise on the two chambers’ spending plans finished up its work on the budget and bumped about a dozen items up to be considered by legislative leaders, reports the News Service of Florida. Most of the issues revolve around differing plans to privatize prisons and whether the projected savings from those prisons should be used. The search for funding for the guardian ad litem program was prompted by an emotional plea by Sen. Ronda Storms, R-Valrico, after negotiators agreed to reduce some extra money for the program set aside by the Senate from $1 million to $250,000. Storms pushed for the committee to reverse a decision to increase funding for intervention programs at the Department of Juvenile Justice and use the money for the guardian ad litem program, which provides representation for abused children. “The DJJ kids made their choices, and these children did not make their choices.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.